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Coding For Publishers

Coding For Publishers

If you've ever wanted to find out about and try coding then come along to our FREECoding for Publishers workshop in Edinburgh on Thursday 23 June 2016 at Codebase's great new event space. You'll get an introduction to Rails, during which you will build a Rails app from scratch.

For this course you will need to

  • bring along your own laptop,
  • bring along your own lunch, and
  • do a small amount of pre-course work: go to and complete the tutorial (this is so everyone is starting from the same place)

About the session (download the PDF: Coding for Publishers)

Taught by the team who developed the Futurebook award-winning, this hands-on course will give you the opportunity to create your own web application for storing and displaying book metadata. You'll be guided step-by-step, learning important concepts and techniques through demonstration and practice. We will assume that you have no prior experience of programming, although you should unfazed by using a computer. By the end of the course you will know how to structure and write your own Ruby on Rails app, and how to publish it to the web.

Who should attend?

Everyone with an interest in exploring programming. Delegates will be comfortable using a computer, but have only rudimentary understanding or recognition of some commonplace languages such as HTML.
This is a "learn to program" course, not a "how to use your company's bibliographic software" course. You'll be making your own software!

Course contents

  • Getting started
  • Structuring our app
  • About the web application
  • About the design
  • Create our first model
  • Make this our home page
  • Making it look good
  • Adding some styling
  • Adding more features
  • Adding uploads
  • Making it useful
  • The show page
  • Creating an advance info sheet
  • Adding products to our works
  • Other forms of the same data: APIs
  • Further Exercises

The case for learning to code

Emma Barnes and her Bibliocloud colleagues will be running the session. Emma is MD of independent publishing house Snowbooks, and CEO of the Bibliocloud publishing management system for publishing. She is also a passionate advocate for publishers learning to code saying that:

 'It's us in the industry who need to be able to code. You don't know how many more books you can sell, how many more readers you can engage, how much more justice you can do to your authors' writing, until you have the technical knowledge to create the new tools and new applications that no-one's thought of yet.'

Here are some of the reasons that Emma has put forward for publishers needing to learn to code:

  • Our industry is built of data: descriptive metadata; sales data from a huge range of sources; reader data; online campaign data; the words we publish and the way they're structured into larger sets of content.
  • If we don't learn to use all the technical tools that exist, then outsiders will build things themselves and what they're building, whilst interesting, is just a shade off the mark, because they don't know publishing like we do.
  • Becoming adept at code-writing is good for business, good for your teams, and good for the long-term health of our industry.
  • Even if you don't want to become expert, learning the fundamentals would be enough for you to have a decent conversation with a developer. You'll have a better idea what's technically possible, you'll be able to tell if the developer is responding sensibly to your specs, and you'll know enough to be able to look at his or her proposal and cost estimate and see if it's reasonable.
  • Wouldn't you rather spend time learning enough to automate a job the once, so you never have to do it again? Once you've glimpsed what code can do, it's really hard to go back.
  • This is an opportunity to draw a line against the relentless outsourcing of skills.
  • As an industry, we're really running the risk of limiting our scope to being middle-men. With code, we have a chance to take back control.
  • Coding is a proper, cerebral activity that doesn't necessarily suit a 9-to-5 office location. It requires intense, prolonged sessions of quiet thought. If you've any desire to improve your company's flexible working capabilities at the same time as generating new revenue streams and increasing your creative output, get your staff to learn to code.

If you can't wait to get started you can do the free Rails course at or one of the many other free courses out there. Or you can buy a book - The Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl - and spend a day a week on it for six months. By the end of six months, you'll have written your own version of Twitter.

Apply for this course through the website.

Earlier Event: June 22
Later Event: June 23
CodeBase Pilates